It’s summertime, which means that school is out and many young people are off to camp. But for those dedicated to a career starting or running a small business, even summertime can be a time to learn more. For those young people, there’s the Teen Entrepreneur Academy.
A program of Concordia University Irvine, the Teen Entrepreneur Academy is a week-long program that teaches the principles and practices of entrepreneurship. Topics covered include clarifying an idea, creating a budget, doing research, building a team, gaining investors and more. It all culminates in an end-of-the-week business plan competition, where student teams write and present their own ideas for businesses.
Entrepreneurship can be an exciting trend for young people. TEA’s Founder Stephen Christensen told Small Business Trends recently that part of the reason he decided to start the program was the results of a 2012 Gallup survey of high school students. In that survey, 80% of students expressed interest in starting their own business someday. And 85% said they would like to have more business education.
Tech startups, in particular, appear to be getting younger and younger. The Internet has opened so many doors for innovation without requiring degrees or experience.
So teaching teens about entrepreneurship would seem to be beneficial, both for them and society as a whole. According to Christensen, the benefits can apply to aspects of life beyond business itself:
“We’re trying to instill in them an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset is one that sees problems as opportunities. So whether they actually start their own business or go to work for someone else, problems come up all the time in life. And every problem can be an opportunity. In business, it’s an opportunity for innovation. In life, it’s a chance to change your thinking and make better choices.”
The 2014 class is currently in session, with students from five states and three different countries. The program has grown each of the last three years and currently has a class of 80. The 2015 class is already scheduled for the week of July 12 to 18.
So for those young people who don’t want to spend their summer in front of the TV or even at a traditional summer camp – entrepreneurship could lead to some interesting opportunities!